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Loud Like Love - UNIVERSAL
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Ken Scrudato on September 19, 2013



Nowadays a husband and father, Brian Molko clearly struggles to access those most debased recesses of his once malignantly dissolute psyche. Alas, the Marquess of Moral Turpitude must get by these days on the songwriting. But for all the heaving depravity operas and scorching, metallic smack-addiction fables in the Placebo canon, the band also wrote some of the prettiest and most gut-wrenchingly sorrowful songs of their generation (“Centrefolds,” “Special Needs”). Unsurprisingly, then, seventh album Loud Like Love’s loudest moments (“Exit Wounds,” “Purify”) are all puff and no power. But on the tormentedly bemused “Too Many Friends,” we get incisive philosophical reflections on technological alienation and the swelling meaninglessness of modern existence. Molko also commandingly summons the demons on the desperately piercing “Begin The End” (“Knock me off my feet like heroin/There’s no fortress left to defend”) and the august and truly epic “Bosco” (“I do you harm because I can”) to utterly devastating effect. He is, in fact, still navigating the murky waters of nihilism; only now he despairs to revel in them as he once did. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine there isn’t something of the rueful confessional when, amidst the haunted beauty of “A Million Little Pieces,” he achingly concedes, “Now I feel I’ve lost my spark/No more glowing in the dark.” Perhaps Junior has a Lite-Brite daddy can borrow…  

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